Intro to the Copilot Platform and Custom Apps


Copilot is an extendable platform for service businesses. Tech-enabled service firms (startups, financial firms, marketing agencies, consulting firms, and others) use Copilot to manage clients, get paid, request eSignatures, and more. Businesses that run on Copilot get many features out-of-the-box but the Copilot Platform is also modular and extendable. You can disable any apps you don't need and extend functionality by adding your own fully Custom Apps. Custom Apps can be added to a workspace in a way that is fully secure and seamless in terms of the user experience for your team and clients.


New to Copilot?

To be most effective working with our platform, familiarize yourself with the core product first by starting a free trial and reading the Copilot Guide.

What is a Custom App?

Custom Apps are web applications that are embedded into Copilot via an iframe and receive authentication information about the current user. Unlike Marketplace Apps which are listed in our App Store, Custom Apps are private and intended for a particular workspace. Custom Apps are built directly by the businesses that need them, by certified Copilot Experts which we can help match you with, or by development agencies that you source yourself.

There are two types of Custom Apps; internal-facing ones and and client-facing ones. They have the following differences:

InternalA Custom App that is internal-facing is only accessible by internal users on the Copilot Dashboard.Internal analytics dashboard, Internal Slack integration, Exporting tool
ClientA Custom App that is client-facing is accessible by both internal users (on the Copilot Dashboard) and by clients (in the Portal). Each group may be offered the same functionality or not. For example, in a Tasks App you may only want to let internal users create tasks but clients can still view them.Task manager, Customizable client home page

What can Custom Apps do?

Your can build rich, highly personalized experiences with Custom Apps using our API infrastructure. For example, you can can:

For details on all that is possible, make sure to read this entire guide and our API Reference documentation.

Example Custom Apps

To understand how Custom Apps fit in with the rest of the platform, below is an example of an internal-facing Custom App and a client-facing one.

Internal-facing: Auto Responder

Auto Responder is an app that lets internal users set up automatic responses for when clients message them. The app makes use of Messages and messageChannels resource endpoints, as well as the message.sent webhook. It's a great example of an app that builds on existing functionality (in this case the Messages Core App) and extends it using the APIs and webhooks we exposed. Also notice that the design language matches the rest of the Copilot Dashboard UI. The best Custom Apps look and feel just like Core Apps.

Internal user experience in the Copilot Dashboard

Internal user experience in the Copilot Dashboard

Client-facing: Tasks App

The Tasks App lets internal users assign task to other internal users, clients, and companies. Since this is a client-facing app, there is a distinct internal view (app embeds in the Copilot Dashboard) and client view (app embeds in the portal). Notice that in the Copilot Dashboard notifications are aggregated in the Notification Center whereas in the portal notifications show directly on the app’s sidebar item.

The Tasks App internal user view in the Copilot Dashboard

Internal user experience in the Copilot Dashboardd

The Tasks App client user view in a portal. Notice that clients don't see the "New task' button.

Client user experience in a portal

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get in touch with your developer team?

You can receive developer support via the #api channel in our Slack community, the Discussions tab at the top of this page, or by emailing [email protected].

What user interface limitations are there for Custom Apps?

You have complete control over the App Embed Area, you can use our API to surface notifications in the sidebar, and our App Bridge enables cross-page linking. We're working on several improvements to our App Bridge so that you can customize additional elements outside of the App Embed Area like surfacing buttons and breadcrumb navigation in the top bar.

How do I create a Marketplace App and get listed on the Copilot App Store?

The best way to get ready for a Marketplace App submission is to first build a great Custom App that's in use by happy customers and that meets all requirements in this guide. Please see our dedicated page on Marketplace Apps here.

For my startup, should I build an MVP from scratch or build a Custom App on the Copilot Platform?

It depends on the type of startup you're building. The benefit of utilizing Copilot is that you get many features out of the box that you don't have to rebuild. For example, clients will be able to use your portal for integrated messaging, contract submissions, and payments. By not having to worry about these things, you can focus all your time on that which makes your startup unique. Note also that for any Custom App you build we have additional conveniences like a design system you can utilize, support for easy-to-setup in-product and email notifications, and more. Finally, you can completely white-label Copilot so your users won't even know what infrastructure you're building on.